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Reading Sudha Murthy's 'Grandparents' Bag of Stories' is like taking a walk down memory lane - not to the distant past, but just to March 2020, when the Coronavirus had spread all over the world enough to be declared a global pandemic. While she writes a range of books from novels to travelogues, my favourites by Sudha Murthy are shortstories, especially ones like these that take us back to simpler times in life and impart valid life lessons while at it.
The best part about this book is the corollary to real life that we have actually witnessed over the past 10 months - how with the fear of impending lockdown, the entire nation was in a frenzy as people thronged to 'get home', stock up on essentials & stay indoors as much as possible. Here as well, cousins Meenu, Raghu, Krishna, Anoushka and Aditi are sent by their parents in the city to Ajja and Ajji's (grandparents) house in the Shiggaon village. Kamlu Ajji is there too, to add to the melee!
When lockdown is announced, the kids and elders enjoy the time together, sharing chores among themselves. The kids learn that no task is big or small for them & the grandparents are amused to see the antics of the city kids adjusting to life in the village. Everyday, Ajja & Ajji regale the kids with stories - some funny, some thought-provoking, some a mystery - each with a deep meaning behind them. From how rice was first brought to the Earth as the first one to how the Gods of Medicine actually impart wisdom as to how to fight the Coronavirus, the stories are a corollary to everyday life in the 21st century and how we have evolved as a race.
The language of the novel is wonderful - warm, endearing, compassionate and filled with such beautiful life lessons. As Sudha Murthy says in the preface, it's almost as if she got into the skin of a 10-year-old and wrote these stories. The intermittent illustrations are absolutely top-notch too, the characters depicted are those we see in real life all around us.
Through the magic of stories and the words used, Sudha Murthy fills our hearts with joy, makes us smile a whole lot and fires up our imaginations! Beautiful read, this one!
These days I’ve been starting my morning by reading this cutest little storybook by Sudha Murty. It’s based on the current pandemic and revolves around the lives of these kids who are spending the summer quarantined with their grandparents. Their days are spent sharing the house chores, helping prepare food for those who need it, and listening to endless stories from their grandparents about beasts, gods, mythical lands, royal families, and talking animals.
I loved how the entire book is composed of shortstories and yet there’s a bigger storyline of a global pandemic. The book even keeps reminding us time and again about the precautions that we need to still be taking to stay safe. Perfect for children, and for adults who don’t mind delving into some childhood tales once in a while.